Want to find your way around the Windy City easily and find Chicago attractions with the touch of a button? There’s an app for that.
In fact, a number of apps are worth installing on your mobile device before you leave for Chicago to check out its various attractions.
One of the easiest and least expensive ways to get around town is by using public transportation. The Chicago Transit Authority has a number of apps you’ll find helpful, starting with HopStop. You can do some trip planning with this mobile device app, which will give you door-to-door directions for transit, walking, biking and more. You can even save searches and favorites. Ride Chicago gives you live bus and train arrival times, plus alerts and maps. Moovit combines crowd-sourced and real-time data with schedules so you can find the fastest and least crowded mode of public transportation. iPad and iPhone users will like ChiTransit, with train schedules, bus arrival times and bus tracking on Google maps. You can use your location to find the nearest stop.
If you’re going to drive, consider downloading the BestParking app. It allows you to find and compare parking areas, helping you locate the one that’s closest to your destination or the least expensive. It can be used for Chicago and other cities as well.
The Windy City is home to many professional sports teams, such as the Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks, and each team has an app. The Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks app, for example, provides box scores for goals, penalties and assists. Then there’s the live game results with scores and stats. You’ll get backstage content, too, including photos and videos. The app also adds games to your calendar and allows you to socialize with other fans.
In addition to being a city full of sports events, Chicago has some of the nation’s best museums, and many of them have apps, including the Field Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago.
With the Field Museum app, you get behind-the-scenes stories, enhancing your tour with audio clips, videos, imagery and museum scientists. It allows you to instantly share your visit with social media. The Art Institute of Chicago Tours app provides an indoor GPS, maps, directions and tours at your fingertips. It’ll help you find specific pieces and allow you to tour the museum the way you want to and at your pace.
To tour the city on your own, the MetrowalkZ app will come in handy. It includes pictures, maps, a Chicago Travel Guide and the following tours: Loop/architecture, Millennium Park, Grant Park/Art Institute, Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, Museum Campus, Chinatown, Gold Coast, Old Town, West Loop and Near North.
Along with its other attractions, Chicago is a great place to grab a beer or a bite to eat, and enjoy the outdoors. The Outdoorsy app will help you find bars and restaurants with patios or beer gardens.
And even though it’s been said that the Windy City got its moniker because of politics, weather is an issue, especially in the winter, thanks to Lake Michigan. Local ABC affiliate, Channel 7, can keep you up-to-date with its ABC7 Chicago Weather app that has hourly and video forecasts. It’s also customizable. You can add up to three locations and get voice alerts and push notifications for severe weather alerts in all those locations. The app has a “follow-me tracking” feature, which uses your phone’s GPS signal to track weather alerts near you.
So no matter where you go or how you get there, apps can help your Chicago adventure stay on-course.